Arizona Forestry Division releases Yarnell Hill Fire settlement agreement with Granite Mountain Hotshot survivors

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In response to a request by InvestigativeMEDIA under the Arizona Public Records Law, the Arizona Forestry Division today released the settlement agreement between the survivors of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who were killed on June 30, 2013 in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

The agreement was reached last summer but was never publicly released.

The agreement calls for the 12 families that filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit to receive $600,000. Survivors signed off on the agreement between July 6 and July 29, 2015.

The Forestry Division made no admission of liability or wrongdoing in its management of the Yarnell Hill Fire that was sparked by lightening on June 28, 2013. The families dismissed “with prejudice” the federal lawsuit they had filed against the forestry division and its employees.

The agreement requires the forestry division to meet with the Granite Mountain Hotshot families for a full day “to review data and information and to answer questions posed by the families and their consultants/experts.”

The agreement also requires the forestry division to create a “staff ride for the Yarnell Hill Fire and will make its personnel and information it has collected available.”

The settlement also lists a number of requests by the families for the forestry division to implement to improve safety for wildland firefighters.

“The Forester agrees to make good faith effort to implement the items…” the agreement states. “However, all Parties recognize that certain actions are dependent on matters outside the control of the Arizona State Forestry Division and the Forester, including items dependent on budget adjustments, legislative action or adoption by national, regional and local partner agencies and organizations.”

The agreement is here.

© Copyright 2016 John Dougherty, All rights Reserved. Written For: Investigative MEDIA

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